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Earth Day 2012 table

Mark Elliot at the Better Bike table for Earth Day 2012

Do you feel unsafe riding a bicycle in Beverly Hills? Have you been involved in a collision in Beverly Hills? Have you been seriously injured? We want to know! We will communicate your story to policymakers and transportation officials in order to make our city more bike-friendly. Let us if we can help!

Remember that City Hall needs to hear from you directly, too. The next time you hit a big pothole, or get sideswiped by a motorist, can’t find a bike rack or are generally are fed up with the sorry state of cycling here in Beverly Hills, pick up the phone to ask City Hall what our leaders are doing to keep cyclists safe. Find a list of handy numbers below!

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Key Contact Numbers for Beverly Hills City Hall

  • City Council is the key policy-making body for Beverly Hills. Five Council members represent every district in the city (an at-large system) so you need to talk to more than just one. Reach the City Council at (310) 285-1013.
  • Public Works & Transportation oversees the infrastructure and programs that most affect cyclists. They also provide staff support to City Council regarding transportation policies and program. It is essential that they hear from you! Reach Transportation at (310) 285-2452.
  • Traffic & Parking Commission is advisory to City Council on matters related to traffic and parking. Reach the Traffic & Parking Commission staff at (310) 285-2452.
  • Recreation & Parks Commission oversees parks, cultural landmarks, and summer recreation programming. It is advisory to City Council. Reach Rec & Parks at (310) 285-2536.
  • Public Works Commission advises on big-ticket items like capital investment and even bike infrastructure. Reach a Public Works staffer at (310) 285-2462.
  • Planning Commission is the policy-setting body for land use and planning matters. It would be the body that handles parking set-asides, for example, and other project-level requirements. Reach a Planning staffer at (310) 285-1141.
  • Beverly Hills Unified School District enjoys significant power as a stand-alone body backed by a fat bond issue. Their facilities master planning process is underway and presents an opportunity to secure bike-friendly improvements. Contact the district at (310) 551-5100.

Let us know what you find out!

Recent Posts

File Under ‘Crap Facilities': Dangerous Crescent Dr. Sharrows

City of Beverly Hills was warned many months ago about this improper placement of sharrows on Crescent Drive:

Crescent Drive sharrows placement

Is this any way to make our streets safer for those who choose to ride a bicycle?

As explicated in this graphic, these sharrows guide northbound Crescent riders into the left-hand lane, which allows motor traffic to pass on the right. After the South Santa Monica intersection, however, riders are then guided back to the right-hand lane which requires a merge back into faster-flowing traffic. This remains an eye-catching road engineering #FAIL six months after we notified the city about it.

Crescent Drive is a well-traveled N/S street that finds northbound motorists rushing to make the stoplights at North and South Santa Monica boulevards. So putting riders literally in the middle of this scrum is at best a mistake and, more likely, is a result of professional incompetence or ignorance.

While the misplacement of a sharrow marking may seem trivial to a driver, this state-approved traffic control device is important to riders as it offers official guidance as to where to ride. It is intended to make roads safer for those who ride a bicycle, not put them in harm’s way.

What is a Sharrow?

According to the state’s Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), sharrows can be used to:

Assist bicyclists with lateral positioning in lanes that are too narrow for a motor vehicle and a bicycle to travel side by side within the same traffic lane; alert road users of the lateral location bicyclists are likely to occupy within the traveled way; and encourage safe passing of bicyclists by motorists…. (MUTCD Section 9C.07 Shared Lane Marking)

sharrow markingAccording to the manual, the marking “shall only be used on a roadway which has on-street parallel parking.” But Crescent northbound here has no parallel parking, of course. And even if it did, the MUTCD offers this bit of specific guidance: Where used to direct riders to a lane adjacent to a traffic lane, it should be only to the left of a right-turn-only lane. (Section 4D.104 Bicycle Signals).

As the manual suggests, it is better to use no sharrows at all than to implement unsafe sharrows.

We’ve Tried and Tried to Get This Fixed

I first contacted the Beverly Hills Deputy Director for Transportation Aaron Kunz in early June after noticing the unsafe sharrows placement:

Sharrows on Crescent (south of little SM) make an ill-advised jog around a non-turn lane as I recall (not the best practice).

Then I suggested that our city fix it. After seeing no action, though, I followed up in early August:

I’ve been puzzled by the hazardous placement of n/b Crescent sharrows. I wonder if the city has a plan to fix it?

Kunz acknowledged the problem and said a fix was in the works. But no fix came. So I followed up again in early October:

Can you remind me if the city will be fixing the sharrow alignment problem on Crescent at SM South? (We spoke about it in early August.)

Kunz replied, “I will check on the status of moving the sharrow as we discussed and get a date.” Hearing nothing back about it (of course) I then followed up a third time in late October:

I’m wondering if you’ve been able to nail down the date?

Aaron replied, “The moving of the sharrow will be a priority but unfortunately I do not have a date yet.” Optimistically I said I would look forward to having the problem corrected.

But evidently I was too optimistic! Here we are approaching February and there is no fix yet. Where in the transportation planner’s handbook does it say that a mistake like this can go unaddressed despite highlighting the problem and following up three times? It cries out for a lawsuit!

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